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Brooks-Howell Home Phone: (828) 253-6712 VOL. XXXV NO. 5

266 Merrimon Avenue

Asheville, NC 28801-1218

Fax 252-7071 W eb-Site: http://www.gbgm -um ell-home NANCY GARRISON, Executive Director Sept-Oct 2009

October God’s glorious


The trees flaunting their red swirling




at the skies. We sing praises for God’s creation. We walk humbly in its glory, thankful to God who makes heaven and earth. May our prayers be glad and full. Amen –Cynthia Ward, Resident

From Our Administrator--

Old Age Is a Gift The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I don't think of myself as old. Upon seeing my reaction, she was embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let her know.

Once again I would like to thank all of you who sent me birthday greetings for my June 16 birthday and the birthday greetings I received for my August 17 birthday. I am one of three sisters who share the same name just not the same DNA. My two sisters are Nancy Garrison, a retired missionary fromWinston-Salem, NC (12/23), Nancy Garrison, missionary in Farmington, MN (8/17)and myself, a deaconess serving BrooksHowell Home (6/16). On behalf of my sisters, I say “Thank You.� This summer has been very lovely this year. We had a lot of rain and with it came incredible flowers. I think the grounds here have been more beautiful than I can remember. Residents as well as staff have put time and energy into the gardens. COME SEE FOR YOURSELF. A number of our residents are taking vacations at this time so pray for safe and happy travels for them. Deaconess Sister Pauline Whitacre had a safe and very happy travel on July 20 when she joined our Lord in heaven. We were privileged to have a group of deaconesses and home missionaries with us last weekend. It was a group working on visioning for the future of the office, in the light of proposed restructuring of the General Board of Global Ministries. We are pleased to welcome Deaconess Beverly Reddick and Eleanor Charlton and local community residents Lora Coffey, John Planey, Catherine Rabb, Betty Holey, Cynthia Ward, and Agnes Jones to our Brooks-Howell family.

Old Age, I decided, is a gift. I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. No, not my body, I despair over my body, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, the sagging butt. And I'm taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror who looks like my mother, but I don't agonize over those things for long. I would never trade my friends, my life, or my family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my friend. I don't chide myself for eating a cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need but looks so avant garde on my patio. I'm entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant. I've seen too many friends leave this world too soon, before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4am and sleep until noon? If I choose I might dance to tunes I love, and if I choose to weep I will. I may walk the beach in a swim suit stretched over a bulging body, and may dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, even if it engenders pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.

Love and Peace,

I know I'm sometimes forgetful, but some of life is just as well forgotten. I eventually remember the important things.

Nancy Garrison Executive Director

(Continued p.12)


Welcome-Beverly (Bev) Reddick

Eleanor (Ellie) Charlton

Bev is a very interesting person. She calls herself “a life shaped and formed by The United Methodist Church offerings and gospel message.” She grew up in Canton, New York, in a rural area, where she lived until she was eighteen. In the summers she went to Camp Aldersgate, where she was first a camper, then a Counselor and also served on the kitchen staff. There she learned the daily disciplines of prayer and readings; she learned to value friendships, and learned about teamwork, where every person is of equal importance. This was a very formative time for her. She was at the camp from fifth grade up.

Ellie got her first glimpse of Brooks-Howell Home two years ago while attending a conference in Junaluska and was impressed. In January 2009 she and her friend Beverly returned and made application to become residents and planned to move into one of The Village Apartments. The arrival of Ellie’s furniture in an 18-wheeler furniture van was quite an event that enabled her to begin settling in. Ellie has come to Brooks-Howell Home from Sacramento, California. Her three children, two boys and one girl, are all living in California with their families. Ellie has four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren aged 2-14 years.

She went to Syracuse University for her first college experience. She joined a small church, and while teaching one Sunday morning, she experienced a call to work through the church full time. One of her mentors suggested Scarritt College, so she went for two years.

In Sacramento she was a member of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in the California/ Nevada Conference. During the last twenty-five years Ellie has served as President of the local UMW, worked in the Conference, chaired the committee on “The Status and Role of Women,” was on the Board of Trustees and attended General Conference the last five times. She used her accounting skills in the business world, the California/Nevada Conference Special Project and as a volunteer for several groups.

Following Scarritt, she spent eight weeks as a summer intern in a leisure resort ministry at the Lake of the Ozarks. After her experience as a Church and Community Worker, she returned there. She found it an experience of the Church being in ministry in the world. The remainder of her ministry has involved education about social issues and injustices and organizing churches in social action.

Her two-week tour of South Africa with a Church group during which they visited Black townships and communities around Cape Town is something Ellie will long remember. The tour took place two years after apartheid and Ellie was surprised by the lack of resentment on the part of the Blacks. She remembers well the site, a small settlement between two white communities, from which the Blacks were driven. They left, with whatever belongings they could carry, for unknown

She has learned that God is non-gender, the source of all life, within and between and around us all. She enjoys golf and biking, as well as other sports and puzzles and games. She met her friend Ellie at a Spiritual Life Retreat. Here, they expect to enjoy traveling and seeing some of the U.S.

(Continued page 4)

–Helene R. Hill


Ellie Charlton (Continued from p. 3)

The Hospitality Committee of Brooks-Howell Residents’ Council planned the event which was enjoyed by the community. Rumor reports two unusual things: a yellow balloon, a fugitive from the decorators, has made its home in the high peak of the chapel ceiling; and ongoing conversations at the event were interrupted by the Committee’s turning off the lights to suggest that party time was over. We express appreciation to the committee not only for this occasion but for all the courtesies they extend throughout each year. --Joyce Anderegg

destinations. Not until later was it discovered that before leaving, the Blacks had saved and hidden all the street signs of the bulldozed area and laid them out on the floor of a church exactly as they were before their settlement was destroyed. Another trip that will not soon be forgotten occurred last year when she was gone more than five months on a 12,000 mile motor home trip through the U.S. and Canada with her friend Beverly. What does she enjoy in her free time? Playing bridge, sewing, vegetable gardening. Welcome to Brooks-Howell Home, Ellie. –Eunice Sluyter

Welcoming New Residents A reception honoring new residents at BrooksHowell Home was held Friday afternoon, August 7 in the chapel area. As many are from the Asheville area, family members were also invited to meet other community residents. Each of the honored residents received guests in chairs marked by colorful balloons. John Planey, Wilma Hoffman, and Ruth Palmer have been living in Assisted Living for some time. Cassie Rabb who has recently joined them is the wife of Stuart Rabb, a resident in Cummings Health Unit.

Ellie Charlton’s Display

Other recent arrivals in Assisted Living included Cynthia Ward and Lora Coffey, whose family members also joined the festivities. Moving from Sacramento, CA was Eleanor (Ellie) Charlton, familiar to many United Methodist Women, who introduced her extended family through pictures, and herself by a display of many items suggesting a wide variety of interests. She and Bev Reddick, a retired Deaconess most recently working in Iowa, have been settling into a Village Apartment as personal possessions have arrived on a schedule that has also afforded time to explore this area.

Cynthia Ward, with her son, the Rev. Mark Ward, pastor of the local Unitarian-Universalist Church –Photos Esther Megill


Hoffman. She was a member of Central United Methodist Church.

In Memory--

She is survived by a niece, Joyce Kwapien of Media, Pennsylvania, and a nephew, R. Michael Collard of Jonesboro, Illinois.

Pauline “Polly” Whitacre November 19, 1910

July 20, 2009

Memorial gifts may be made to Brooks-Howell Home.

Polly Whitacre was born in Carbondale, Illinois to Daniel Bye and Lois Jones Whitacre. She had an older sister and brother, and two younger sisters. At eight years old she met her first deaconess who tended her in a hospital in Carbondale. In black garb with white collar and cuffs, wearing a sweet smile, she helped Polly “think good” as she brought her weak tea just like the tea Polly’s Quaker grandmother gave her.

Resident Services: Sampling Summer Fun ! What a summer at Brooks-Howell! Not only have we had a wonderful season of beautiful flowers, cool and hot weather, we’ve had a chance to go “camping,” try new art experiences, enjoy the talents of storytellers, “pig out” at the ice cream social and try our luck/skill at the games of a carnival mid-way. I’m tired just thinking about it.

At age twelve she helped build and pay for a big, beautiful church, becoming a member at dedication after marching down the street with a Christian flag, singing “Onward, Christian Soldiers.”

Our “Camping” experience began with an idea from June Fischer and a few other residents. With their help it became a fun day as we recalled wonderful days at camp in our youth. From the “pond” where we could cool our feet or catch “fish,” to the “pony” ride, to the crafts, bubbles and cold drinks, it was a time to re-live days at summer camp.

A second deaconess, Sara Gene Hoffman, came into her life when they worked together. She told Polly that she needed formal training and a degree. Leaving her church family and home, Polly went to National Training School in Kansas City. Her third deaconess was Dale Keeler, who met her and her mother at the railroad station and taxied them to the school.

New story tellers included John Arnold, who regaled us with the history and great stories of both the Navajo and Cherokee tribes and reservations. Gwenda Ledbetter had us laughing with and at her with her tales of the Appalachian people. We hope to see and hear them both again at Brooks-Howell.

After finishing her training she worked in hospitals, children’s homes, business girls’ residences, and retirement residences in Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington, Berea, Kansas City, Little Rock and four times in Illinois until her retirement in 1972. She was the last active deaconess for the Chicago Deaconess Home.

The Auxiliary again came through and provided residents with an ice cream social in August. With choices of strawberry swirl, chocolate marshmallow and good old vanilla, not to mention the long row of toppings, I noticed that many ate a very light supper that night! As always, a big thank you to the ladies of our Auxiliary.

Retirement allowed her to go to her private home in Jonesboro, Illinois, for evermore, she thought. Polly entered Brooks-Howell Home on November 11, 1991, where she renewed her old friendship with former co-worker Sara Gene

(Continued p. 6)


Summer Fun (Continued from p. 5) Our first time with a “Mid-Way” was deemed a success. At first the advertised Mid-Way caused some confusion, but everyone soon recognized the row of games and contests that can be found at any carnival or state fair. Many tried their skill, or luck? at the games of Spinning Wheel, Air Bowling, Bingo, Stick It To Me Ball Toss, and even with the Fish Pond. There must have been some quite skillful or lucky people, as many participants walked away with prizes. What a summer! We’ve truly had reason to “Rejoice! This is the day (days) the Lord has made.” We can’t wait to see what ideas pop up for the Fall! --Phyllis L. Glahn

Martha Strunk helps Elizabeth Thompson with a “Stick-It” Game

Alycia Johnson, Volunteer, Supervises Residents Mylah Johnson helps Iris Williams catch a “Fish”

with a Bingo Game


Enjoying Ice Cream at the Auxiliary Party

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to camp we go . . . . . . for one day (on the grounds). About fifty residents from all units enjoyed bubble blowing, clay construction and making bookmarks with natural items. The favorite activities were the “pony rides” and “the swimmin’ hole.” A good ol’ camp supper included hobo stew and singing camp songs we could recall. Sharing stories and making s’mores at the campfire capped off a wonderful day of reliving happy times at camp–in some cases, experiencing camp for the first time. –June Fischer

Barbara Mees. visitor, Beth Griffin, Nola Smee, Jorie Ruegger, June Fischer enjoying s’mores at the campfire!



Watching the Squirrel Antics

Brooks-Howell Home is developing a Missions/Archives Library, where we already have many books and papers relating to missions and missionaries. This is available for anyone who can come here to use it. We hope soon to have a list of our books on the internet.

If you have been in the Brooks-Howell dining room, you will remember that the wall on the right is made of floor to ceiling sliding glass doors. We can see the trees, each beautiful in its own season, and the flowers in the gardens.

Do you have any of the following books you would be willing to donate to our library? If so, we would appreciate having them:

On Thursday, July 9, we entered the dining room and settled ourselves as usual for our noonday meal. Word spread quickly through the dining room that we had guests at the bird feeder. We saw a squirrel family having their lunch at the “squirrel proof” bird feeder. An adult squirrel had found a way to lift the trap that should have kept her from reaching the seeds intended for the birds. Hanging precariously by one front foot and one hind foot, she scooped bird seeds into her mouth as she clung to the bird feeder–and then let them fall to the ground below.

The Missionary Spirit: The History of Mission of the Methodist Protestant Church, 1830-1939, by Ruth Daugherty. “Five Dollars and Myself”: The History of Mission in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 18451939, by Robert W. Sledge From Missions to Mission: The History of Mission of The United Methodist Church, 1968-2000, by Robert J. Harmon. Initiatives for Mission, 1980-2002, Charles E. Cole, editor. Christian Mission in the Third Millenium, Charles E. Cole, Editor. Please e-mail Esther Megill, Archives Librarian, at if you wish to make a contribution, or call me at 828-253-5529.

Waiting on the ground were two smaller squirrels who were having dinner with their mother (or father?). They gobbled down the food as the parent hung precariously above them and dropped it down to them. They also bounced off the ornamental trees near the feeder and chased each other around in the grass and back up into the trees. When they weren’t busy pursuing each other, they stopped long enough to tear into another course of lunch at the base of the feeder.

***************************************** The “two Pats”–Pat Riddell and Pat Richardson–recently attended the reunion of Peru missionaries. LeGrand Smith took his annual trip to Bolivia recently Several residents attended the Asheville District UMW Annual Meeting on Saturday, August 22.

All through lunch we watched the squirrels as the parent checked us out to be sure we were not dangerous to the babies. Harmony! –Ann Janzen



brain is out of balance it cannot do that. The business of brain-training is to balance the brain’s two sides so it can guide us properly.

Have you discovered the Serendipitor on the internet (in color)? To view it, go to the WNCC United Methodist Women home page at and click on the “Join our email list” button right at the top of the home page. When you enter your email address, and click on the “submit” button, you will be taken to the profile page, where you can fill in your information, including choosing from which list or lists you want to get email. The list for the Serendipitor is there, third one down. You can choose to subscribe only to the Serendipitor, or join the main or other lists as well; you just need to check the boxes next to the list(s) you want to join. When you finish completing the profile information and checking lists, click on the “Save Profile Changes” button at the bottom of the screen, and click the Serendipitor link.

I feel very fortunate that I have just been through twenty hours of brain-training. Most of us suffer traumas of various kinds throughout our lives; sometimes these happen in pregnancy or infancy or early childhood, and we are unaware of them, but the difficulty has been establishing its pattern in our brains for many long years, and now it is more difficult to displace. A good example is the conviction I now have (although there is now no one alive who can substantiate it!) that when I was very young my father changed me from being left-handed to using the right hand! This may be the reason for so much difficulty with my right leg.

Or, if you read the WNCC UMW Newsletter on the web-site regularly, you can just look at the top left side of the home page, and at the bottom of the list of topics, in yellow, the Brooks-Howell Home Serendipitor is listed. Just click and read it–print it if you wish.

We wonder sometimes why some people are lucky and/or fortunate, and their lives seem blessed with happiness and a steady progress, while others of us are always an hour late and a dollar short or always feel inadequate and not able to function at an adequate level.

If you are receiving the Serendipitor at no cost, or because a resident is subscribing for you, and you can read it from the internet, please let the editor know. We will take you off our list and save money!

The study of this healing modality has finally come to the place where it can be offered as a helpful blessing to people. It is not yet embraced by the health industry, and there is no health insurance coverage. Much of it is still experimental, and the treatments are at this point part of the research establishing the results, which are not yet consistent. Treatments are still costly enough that people like you and me think twice before getting involved;. but I am finding after twenty hours of training I am sleeping more soundly, and more restfully, and waking feeling more refreshed and ready for the day. I am finding that I can remember activities and involvements more easily and I am not so depressed.

Esther Megill, Editor ****************************************

Brain-Training Most of us know that there are two sides of the brain, the side that recognizes linear thinking, such as we find in much of our modern technology, and the side that recognizes intuition and those “gut” feelings we have. Few of us know (yet) that these can be out of balance, and the brain needs to have them balanced. The brain’s primary business is to keep us alive and functioning well, but when the

I have just read a book about the subject, called Limitless You, by Lee Gerdes. It has been helpful in my understanding some of the basics. –Helene R. Hill


From Our Chaplain -Lessons from Beach Combing My favorite place to be on vacation is the beach and one of my favorite beaches is the vast area known as the Grand Strand of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. For the past thirty-five years our family has been going to this area whenever we are in the United States. One of the attractions is the shark teeth fossils that can be found along this 40-mile stretch of beaches. Sharks continually shed their teeth and there is an abundance of fossils along the South Carolina coast. On our first visit to Garden City Beach in 1974, an older gentleman beachcomber showed one of our sons the large shark’s tooth that he had just found in the sand. That was enough to turn our entire family into hunters of sharks’ teeth. Now all six of our grandchildren also avidly look for sharks’ teeth and there is much pride in finding the largest tooth or the most perfectly shaped tooth. One of the lessons I learned early in shark teeth hunting is that if you are looking for sharks’ teeth you have to concentrate on just finding sharks’ teeth. These black fossils are found among the many varieties of shells that can divert one’s eyes from the main objective, not to mention other distractions like the ocean, birds, crabs, and other friendly beachcombers. I am easily distracted on the beach so I am never very successful in finding shark teeth fossils. The time at the beach always moves me to reflect on my life and relationships and helps me to keep focused on the most important purposes in life – love for God and love for other persons. Like shark teeth hunting, it is easy to be distracted from these. Another lesson is that just as I must concentrate on what I want to find on the beach, so must I be 10

intentional in the rest of my life. The words of Romans 8:28a, “We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him…” (GNB), when kept in mind, help me to look for the positive and to be alert for the ways that God is at work in my life, in other persons and in the world. --Don Turman, Chaplain

An Honor Indeed We are delighted to announce that BrooksHowell’s most recent publication, Prayers and Ponders, written and compiled entirely by residents of Brooks Howell Home has been awarded a great honor. This special book has been accepted for the United Methodist Women 2010 Reading List. This exquisite book, with its beautiful artwork, photographs its rich variety of poems, life experiences, testimonies, and reflects the lives and loves of our missionaries and deaconesses who stepped out in faith to serve God on five continents. This book is already blessing readers in England, Scotland, Australia and America. Nancy Garrison Executive Director


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Serendipitor is published at least six times during the year. It is sponsored by the Brooks-Howell Auxiliary and is written by and for residents, staff and friends. It focuses on people and current happenings here, features past and coming events, and points the way to creative Christian living. EDITORIAL STAFF: Esther Megill, editor; Joyce Anderegg, Elaine Gasser, Helene R. Hill, Doug and Carol Wingeier, Eunice Sluyter, Ann Janzen, Bess Redmond, Nancy Garrison. Margaret Craven, mailer, Anne McKenzie, assistant. RATE: $10.00 PER YEAR; SEND SUBSCRIPTIONS TO SERENDIPITOR. Check your label for an expiration date. [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][



Old Age Is a Gift (Continued from p. 2) Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when your beloved pet dies? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and may never know the joy of being imperfect. I'm blessed to have lived long enough to see my hair turn gray, and my laughs be etched into grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver. As you get older, it's easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've earned the right to be wrong. So, in answer to your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I'm here I won't waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I'll eat dessert every day if I feel like it. –Author Unknown 12

Brooks-Howell Serendipitor  

September - October Issue of the newsletter for Brooks-Howell Home

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